Step 2 Work out your business and household budget

​Are you paying too much for your phone calls?

Check your phone contract is the best you can find. You may be able to make big savings if you switch phone companies. Another way to cut costs is to use an ‘override provider’. You won’t have to change your phone line. By simply dialling a number before the phone number you are calling, you could cut the cost of daytime calls and calls to mobiles.
Even if you don’t want to change your phone company, there are other ways to cut down on your phone bills.
  • Pay by direct debit.
  • Use the internet. If you have access to the internet, you may be able to talk for free using software such as Skype.
  • Check your contract. Are there extras such as voicemail that you don’t really need? If you have an expensive package that allows you to make unlimited calls at any time, do you really need it?
  • See if your phone company has a social tariff. This may be helpful if you are on certain benefits and only use your phone occasionally.
  • See if you can switch to paperless billing. If you agree to get your bills online, you could save some money.

Extra advice:

disconnected phone?

If you have been disconnected, treat the bill as a non-priority debt.

Dealing with your non-priority debts

An outstanding bill

If you have a bill that you cannot afford to pay and you want to keep the phone line, ask your phone company if you can pay by instalments. Your phone company may be more likely to agree if you set up a monthly payment plan, perhaps by direct debit. They may also agree to let you have only incoming calls for a short time to help reduce your bills. When you have cleared your debt with the phone company, you may be able to go back to your normal phone package.

Help with your water bills 

You may be able to reduce your water bill or get help paying water debts in the following ways.
  • Most water companies have trust funds and may be able to help you pay your water bills if you are in difficulty. Get information about trust funds and support schemes you can apply to for financial help by going to the Auriga Services website Click on the link to the Help with Water & Energy booklet at the top of the page. If your supplier does not have a trust fund, you can apply to the British Gas Energy Trust for help, even if you are not a consumer of British Gas. If you do not have access to the internet, contact us for a copy.
  • Water meters only charge you for the water you actually use and this could make your bills cheaper. Ask your water company for advice or use the water-meter calculator on the Consumer Council for Water's website. If you would prefer a water meter, but your supplier tells you that one cannot be fitted, you can ask your water company to be billed for an assessed charge.  This may be cheaper than what you usually have to pay.  Read  more about an assessed charge or contact your water company for more information.
  • If you are on a water meter, receive income-based benefits and meet other conditions, you may be able to get a water bill that is less than you normally pay.  There are two schemes that can reduce your bill: WaterSure and WaterSure Wales. Read more about WaterSure or WaterSure Wales.